Sydney psychiatrist shares his opinions on smacking

Please note: We are not telling you how to discipline your child but reporting what experts are saying to inform mums.

In Australia, smacking is frowned on but it isn’t actually illegal. Yet many parents choose to refrain from smacking their children, as they see it as a type of violence.

However, a Sydney psychiatrist has reignited the physical discipline debate by stating that smacking kids isn’t “the end of the world”.

Sydney expert states ‘smacking isn’t the end of the world’

Dr Tanveer Ahmed made the controversial comments on a 2GB Breakfast show after being asked whether he thought smacking children is an acceptable form of discipline.

“Being a good dad in terms of being present, communicating and putting in these strong boundaries is probably more important than the occasional smack,” he said.

“Some smacking when it is consistent, relatively mild and linked with rewarding the behaviour you want to see elsewhere is okay.

“It’s not the end of the world. He’s got his hands full. We do make too much of the spanking.”

Eight out of ten parents are EMBARRASSED by their toddler’s public TANTRUMS, survey finds

What’s more, Dr Ahmed elaborated that boundaries needed to be set more than anything.

“The physiological research does say if spanking is your key parenting strategy then it doesn’t work,” he said.

“But if it’s fairly consistent, proportionate, doesn’t go into the realm of abuse and you’re linking it with rewarding the behaviours you want to see and communicating well.”

“Healthy forms of discipline” rather than spanking is recommended in new policy statement from AAP

Meanwhile, a new policy statement has been released by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), who represent about 67,000 doctors, recommending that parents avoid spanking their child.The strongly worded statement advises parents to choose ‘healthy forms of discipline’ such as positive reinforcement, setting limits and setting expectations to help reinforce appropriate behaviour.How 'Crying' Can Help Your Child's Emotional Development

Spanking does more harm than good according to a new AAP statement

The new statement is much stronger in it sentiment than the previous guidance, which has been in place for 20 years, which recommended that ‘parents be encouraged’ not to spank their kids.

This new statement has stemmed from a body of research which was unavailable 20 years ago reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Dr Robert D. Sege, a pediatrician at Tufts Medical Centre and the Floating Hospital for Children in Boston, and one of the authors of the statement said;

“One of the most important relationships we all have is the relationship between ourselves and our parents, and it makes sense to eliminate or limit fear and violence in that loving relationship. 

“In the 20 years since that policy was first published, there’s been a great deal of additional research, and we’re now much stronger in saying that parents should never hit their child and never use verbal insults that would humiliate or shame the child.”

Toddler Tantrum

A 2009 study, for instance, looked at the possible ramifications to the brain also the study looked at the brains of 23 young adults who had repeated exposure to harsh corporal punishment and found reduced grey matter volume in an area of the brain that is said to be crucial to social cognition.

Research also showed the same young adults to have lower IQ performance than the control group.

So the next logical question would be what do the experts recommend parents do when it comes to disciplining their children?

The answer, like most things in parenting, depends on the individual child, taking into consideration their age and temperament.

Dr Vincent J.Palusci, a child abuse paediatrician at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone notes that effective discipline involves practising empathy and “understanding how to treat your child in different stages in development to teach them how to cool down when things do get explosive.”

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